Apparently all the cool kids are making movies about Sharon Tate. The one starring Hilary Duff is just the worst one.
To be fair, I’ve only seen two of the three recent Sharon Tate films. I was not a fan of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood either, but I promise you, there is no way Tate could be as bad as The Haunting of Sharon Tate, starring Hilary Duff and written and directed by Daniel Farrands (The Amityville Murders and The Haunting in Connecticut).
I mean. Yikes.
I can’t say I wasn’t warned. One of my favorite Horror YouTube channels PossessedByHorror released a review entitled “I Watched The Haunting of Sharon Tate So You Don’t Have To.” She covers a lot of the issues I had with the movie, but well. I’m never one to not watch a movie just because everyone says it’s terrible. So here we are.
So let’s just get into the reasons it was so bad, starting with my least favorite part of the movie: Hilary Duff. I have no problem with Hilary Duff as a person. Was I listening to “With Love” just earlier today? Maybe. But also maybe Hilary Duff can’t act. And she definitely shouldn’t be given roles where she has to mimic the mannerisms and voice of an actual person who lived. Duff’s rendering of Sharon Tate is extremely clunky, especially her accent. I don’t even know why Duff is attempting an accent here. No one else is trying to do one, and it makes her stand out even more. Plus, she goes in and out of it pretty frequently to the point where it’s distracting. But also… yes, please distract me from this dumb movie.
Next up: the plot. So. Not a lot happens in this movie. The thing about what happened to Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger is that it was very quick and very shocking. The members of the Manson family did not know these people, and the murder was committed because of beef Charles Manson had with the former occupant of the house, Terry Melcher, a record producer.
So… how do you make a movie about this? Well, if you’re Daniel Farrands, you just make the murder happen over and over again. Throughout the movie, Sharon Tate has premonitions (or “hauntings”) that foreshadow her demise. And I’m using the word foreshadow very loosely because really, we just see the murder play out repeatedly. Each time it happened, I thought to myself, “Oh this is the real one. Thank goodness this movie is almost over.” But then Sharon Tate would wake up or would be woken up by one of her friends assuring her it was all a dream. And oh no. We have to listen to Hilary Duff’s accent a little longer.
Farrands also tried to add in some little supernatural bits that made no sense and weren’t scary at all. Like when the gang is drinking wine and playing with a spirit board. Sharon asks the board if she will live a long and happy life (what a boring question tbh), and when she’s not looking, the board tells her no. Scary, right? No, no it’s not.
The ending is particularly bad, and I’m going to go ahead and spoil the ending for both Once Upon A Time in Hollywood here as well as this movie, so strap in. Both of these movies are dumb, so it doesn’t really matter. But if you don’t want to be spoiled, I guess stop here.
Okay so. In both versions of Sharon Tate’s story, there’s this alternate reality of sorts where Sharon Tate actually survives. In Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino indulges in his alternate history thing and has the family show up at the wrong house and then get brutally murdered themselves. In this movie, Sharon and friends fight back and escape.
Or so they think. Here’s where it gets really dumb.
Just as Sharon believes she’s escaped her fate, she sees their dead bodies and the police and onlookers who have come to see what has happened to them. She, her friends, and her unborn child have in fact died, and she is now a ghost. She just didn’t realize it. She then (and I’m not kidding you) walks away with a ghost baby in her arms.
What. I don’t even know what to say. I’m too flabbergasted to even dignify that ending with a review. And honestly, at that point, I was so sure Sharon was going to wake up and it would all be a dream yet again. I wasn’t sad or disturbed to see their dead bodies. I was glad it had finally happened and the movie was over. I hate that I was thankful that real live people died just so I could stop watching this movie.
And that’s the biggest problem with this movie. These were all real people with real families. I love True Crime just as much as anyone, but I think if True Crime is going to continue to be a thing and we’re going to continue to watch movies about it, we need to think about how it’s possible to do this while still being respectful to the victims and their families. I think there is a way to do that. The Haunting of Sharon Tate is not that way.
Other things that make this movie bad, just to list off some things I didn’t get to: the other actors were bad as well (Aaron Samuels, what happened to you?), a dog dies, the cinematography was bad, this movie included clips from actual news and footage of Sharon, which didn’t make any sense or add anything. I could go on, but you get the point. And if you don’t, I guess go ahead and watch this movie, like I did.
I’ll be back next week with another horror movie review as we continue our Spooktober countdown. See you real soon!